Devotees began to throng the famous Lord Ayyappa temple here as it was opened for the five-day monthly pujas and rituals during the auspicious Malayalam month of Chingam which fell on Wednesday.
Melsanthi (chief priest) N Parameshwaran Namboothiri opened the portals of the sanctum sanctorum and lit the lamp under the aegis of tantri (head priest) Kandari Rajeevaru on Tuesday evening.
Later, the portals of sub-deities were also opened and lamps were lit there by the priests. After the necessary rituals, the devotees were allowed to trek the holy hill, climb the 18 sacred steps and offer prayers before the main deity-Lord Ayyappa. The shrine would remain open till August 21. Devotees can visit the shrine after registering in the virtual queue system. temple management sources said.
A spot registration system is also in place at Nilakkal, the base camp, for the pilgrims.